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Božena Húšťová (1929) - Biography

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Even a year after I could still smell the charred human flesh


Božena Húšťová, a witness of the Nazi carnage in several pastoral villages in the area of Vizovice at the end of WWII, was born on April 1st, 1929 in the hamlet of Ryliska, located near the Ploština settlement. People in these remote settlements were helping the partisans, who were on the move from Slovakia to the mountains on the Moravian-Slovak border in November 1944. In the Vizovice highlands and in the Beskydy Mountains, at the turn of 1944 and 1945, the 1st Czechoslovak partisan brigade of Jan Žižka began its operations. The brigade was commanded by Major Dajan Bajanovič Murzin. Inhabitants of these scattered villages were supplying the partisans with food and shelter, and many even joined them in their anti-Nazi activity. František Raška, Božena Húšťová's father, was one of these selfless supporters of the partisans; their cottage became the unofficial headquarters of the Ploština unit and the partisans themselves assigned him to the rank of Major. In spring 1945, during the last months of the war, two Gestapo members infiltrated the partisan group, and they turned in the partisans and the citizens of Ploština and other pastoral hamlets to the Gestapo office in Zlín. On April 19th,1945, Ploština was set on fire by the members of the counter-partisan unit "Josef" and by the SS soldiers. 24 people, who were mainly from the hamlets of Vysoké Pole and Drnovice, perished in the attack on Ploština. That day, Božena Húšťová lost her brother, who was burned with other victims in a barn. Fortunately her father and her elder sister were out of the village at the time. The Nazis burnt down other villages as well, and many civilians lost their lives. After the war, a monument was erected in Ploština along with a museum of anti-Nazi resistance, where Božena Húšťová now works as a guide. She tells the museum's visitors about the dramatic fate of Ploština during the war, but also of its fate in the post-war period, when the settlement was rebuilt and the survivors had to cope with the loss of their loved ones, and with the fact that most of the perpetrators of the Ploština tragedy were never caught.

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